These Are The Lessons I’ll Carry With Me Into 2021


In many ways, it feels like time stood still this year. Months flipped by on the calendar, yet throughout the long periods of social isolation, it didn’t feel like I was moving forward. The whole world was thrust into a global crisis, forcing people to put their lives on hold while separated from those they care about. Needless to say, 2020 has been a rickety year for everyone.

In 2020, my first relationship ended, and then just over a week later, my longest friendship ended as well. Despite graduating around the time that the pandemic began, I still haven’t found a full-time job, and I’m fighting uncertainties about the career path I chose.

In spite of the doubts and fears, there are lessons I’ve learned or that have been reinforced for me in 2020 that will carry me forward into 2021.

Be grateful for your health. I never realized how much I used to take my health for granted until this year. I am so fortunate to have my health, and I am grateful every day that those I care about are safe and happy as well. Because I know that there are people out there suffering from the virus, I’ve learned to value the important parts of my life more and let go of trivial complaints. I don’t want to ignore the significant hardships I’ve gone through this year, but I do want to shift my perspective to focus on the positives that matter to me. Going forward into 2021, I want to practice more gratitude for what I have in my life.

Even the things you know with utmost certainty can end. Life as we knew it turned upside down when the pandemic started. The simplicity of being able to go out and see loved ones was taken for granted. I had a friend I had known since birth. Over the years, we would sometimes go months without seeing each other, yet this was a friendship I had faith in. I saw our friendship lasting decades into the future with such clarity. Then it ended. Going forward into 2021, I will not take the people in my life for granted. Nothing is certain, so I will treasure those that I care about while they’re still here.

You never truly know what someone is thinking. Although I’ve known this all my life, this lesson was really reinforced for me this year. My relationship wasn’t perfect, although rarely they ever are. We did our best to communicate, but too many things were left unsaid until it was too late. I didn’t see the breakup coming. Truthfully, maybe a part of me did, but I wanted to hope there was still a chance for us. Our perspectives on the relationship veered, and I didn’t realize how unhappy my partner had grown until the end. Going forward into 2021, I will remember that I may never truly know or understand the ones I care about, but I can try my best. I will continue to approach others with patience and empathy to avoid misunderstandings. 

Everyone who enters your life is a blessing, even if they don’t stay. As I look back on all the friends that I’ve made these last few years, I realize I haven’t seen most of them since the pandemic started or even way before then. I still have nothing but love and appreciation for them, but I have also come to accept that not all of those friendships were meant to last a lifetime. Despite this, I know that my life would not have been as fulfilling or adventurous as it has been without them. I believe that some people are meant to enter your life. These people are there right when you need them most even if that doesn’t mean they’re here to stay. Friendships and relationships aren’t any less significant just because they don’t last forever. Going forward into 2021, I will welcome all those I meet with openness and say goodbye with gratitude if they leave.

2020 was a year of disaster, loneliness, unpredictability, and also growth. I finished school without a clue as to what I’m doing in the adult world, important relationships ended, and there are loved ones I haven’t seen since before the pandemic. But I’ve learned so much along the way.

I hope that going forward, we all take the lessons we learned this year to take care of ourselves and create happiness in 2021.